There was nothing coincidental about Philip Paniamogan’s career game on Wednesday.
During the long break, Paniamogan spent most of his holidays in the gym–getting extra work, taking extra shots. Heading into the Floodbuster’s crucial game against the Meralco Bolts, coach Chris Gavina already had an idea what kind of performance he’s going to get from his guard.
True enough, Gavina’s premonition came to fruition with Paniamogan shooting the lights out to lead Mahindra’s three-point barrage in a 105-92 shellacking of Meralco.
“Honestly, I really saw it coming from Christmas Day because even during the break he was one of the guys who asked me to keep working,” Gavina told reporters.
“He came up big tonight. When he’s called upon he’s really ready to deliver.”
Paniamogan started the game 8-of-8 from the field including 6-of-6 from behind the arc en route to a 25-point night.
“My role is to really shoot. They just kept telling to shoot no matter what. I had the license to shoot so I never hesitated to take shots,” Paniamogan said.
The 25-year-old Paniamogan felt he was going to have quite a game after hitting his first two jumpers, but his veteran teammate Alex Mallari believed he had already found his rhythm even before tipoff.
“He was hot. That boy was on fire. We were shooting before the game and he wasn’t missing,” Mallari recalled. “When he made his first two shots, I was like ,’Oh shootaround really worked for him’ but I hope he can pick it up and sustain it the next game.”
Paniamogan went undrafted in 2014 and spent most of the past two years in the PBA D-League but he may have finally found a home with Mahindra–something he is grateful for after his first shot at the PBA lasting for only one conference.
“I was with GlobalPort then back in the D-League, but I never lost hope. Prayer has always been my weapon,” Paniamogan recounted in Filipino.
“It’s hard when you go in and out of the PBA. When I got the call, I really worked hard and fortunately, I was able to earn their trust. I’m thankful for the coaches and management for giving me a contract.”